'In New York in the Sixties I saw children playing with a plastic ball. That was unimaginable for me. I brought the ball to the studio and asked a colleague to make a leather one. But that was impossible. He laughed and suggested designing one in fibreglass, which was a new material at the time. And out of that grew the idea of covering one with mirrors, a technique I have refined over the years.' (The artist quoted in I. Steven Heydens, Dazzling geometry at Wiels, 12 June 2013, accessed online.)
Living in swinging New York of the 1970s, the internationally acclaimed artist Monir Farmanfarmaian befriended popular artists Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Alexander Calder, Barnett Newman and Andy Warhol - to whom she gifted one of her sought after Mirror Balls which he famously kept on his desk until his death. In the Big Apple, she lived a life of glamour and glitz and created a great number of works in various sizes, colours and shapes, which reflected upon her varied influences, ranging from Persian traditions, Islamic architecture - in particular the shrines that were adorned with endless mirror mosaics - geometry, cosmology, handicrafts and coffeehouse paintings.
Exploring various mediums, from drawings to her celebrated mirror and reverse-glass painting works, Monir purposely played around with the refracting and reflecting effects of the mirror pieces to create a kinetic experience that would engage the viewer and alter their surroundings. Evocative of the disco balls that decorated the interiors of the famous clubs in New York while simultaneously hinting at her Persian visual and cultural heritage, the present Mirror Ball is a reflection of Monir's own identity, as an artist whose life and career created endless bridges between East and West. Mesmerising and utterly captivating, the present Ball is a fine example amongst about fifty examples in various sizes and colours that she made throughout her career. A cluster of sparkling light and colour, the present work beautifully encapsulates the pop culture that Monir experimented during her time in New York City.